Making Giraffe Skin
by RuthAnn Ford and Sunni Bergeron


We are not going to mention any particular brand of clay as any of them will work. The colors for this tutorial are custom made by blending different colors together (except the white). You can find something similar or mix your own colors. Also, the amounts of the clay listed in Supplies are also arbitrary and approximate. You can use more or less as suits your fancy.

Supplies:
2 ounces (60 grams) each of dark orange and ochre yellow
1 ounce (30 grams) of white
Pasta machine or rolling device (e.g. glass jar, acrylic rod, etc)
Manicure scissors and/or cutting tool (e.g. knife, blade, etc.)

Conditioning:
You need to condition all of your clay first and that is accomplished by manipulating it. Fold it, run it through a pasta machine, mash it, twist it, work it until it's pliable. To test if it's conditioned enough, roll the clay into a fat snake and bend it in half. If there are no cracks or fissures along the bend, the clay is ready.


1) Roll the dark orange into a plug about 2in (51cm) tall

2) Run the white clay through the pasta machine on a setting a little thicker than  medium thick setting (e.g. #3 on an Atlas with 9 settings) or manually roll it into a sheet about 1/16in (1.5mm) thick.

3) Wrap the orange plug with only one thickness of the white sheet. Tip: Trim one end of the sheet so it is straight. Place the plug on the trimmed end and roll it up until the trimmed end meets the rest of the white clay. Press lightly to impress a line into the clay and then unroll halfway. Trim the white sheet just inside the line.

4) Trim any of the white clay from the ends of the plug. You now have a simple bull's eye cane.

5) Run the yellow ochre clay through the pasta machine on next to the thickest setting (e.g. #2 on an Atlas with 9 settings) or manually roll it into a sheet about 1/8in (3mm) thick.

6) Wrap the bull's eye cane with two thicknesses and trim. See the Tip in Step 3.

7) Pinch and squeeze the cane into a square and place it down onto your work surface. Now "slap and spank" and pull it to reduce the cane. "Slap and spank," you ask? This method really gets the clay moving inside the cane and is excellent for getting rid of the little pockets that occur between the layers of the different clays. You literally raise your hand up and spank the palm down onto the cane hard. (See photo below on left.) Give it a quarter turn and repeat. Continue spanking until the cane begins to take on a definitive square shape and to starts to lengthen. Now begin slapping it with your fingers along the length of the cane. (See photo below on the right.) Give it a quarter turn and repeat. Occasionally, pick the cane up and pull along its length to expedite reduction and place it back on the work surface for more slapping. Continue slapping/turning/pulling until the cane is long enough to start cutting. You will be cutting the cane, setting aside a piece and reducing the other half three times.

8) When the cane is lengthened and still fairly thick, cut one third of it off. Set the cut third aside and reduce the other half down so it is a little more than twice the length of the section set aside.

9) Cut one end of the reduced cane so it is the same length as the first third and set the cut end aside. Reduce the rest of the cane so it is a little less than twice the length of the sections set aside.

10) Cut one end of the reduced cane so it is the same length as the first third and set the cut end aside. Reduce the rest of the cane so it is just the same length of the sections set aside. You now have four separate canes of different thicknesses.

11) Place the cane segments together so the larger two are opposite one another and the smaller two are opposite one another. Pinch them together and begin reducing by gently squeezing and pinching. When the cane begins to look round, square it off again and reduce with the slap and spank and pulling shown above in Step 7. Continue to reduce until it is the thickness you want.

 


 

What you get is this: a lovely square cane with not quite square spots!!

To make a truly authentic looking skin, make another cane with only three squares with a thicker or thinner yellow ochre wrap. Or with five squares - just so long as it is different from the first cane. Then use slices from the two canes to create a more realistic effect!

 

 


Home
Polymer Clay Projects
Papermaking

Email Me:
webmistress
AT
sunnibergeron.com
DOT
com


Online Jigsaw Puzzles of my polymer clay projects or
Online Jigsaw Puzzles of photographs I've taken in Oregon

Different desktop backgrounds.
Different craft offerings for your enjoyment. My way of saying thank you!

1) Coathanger Christmas Tree
2) Coathanger Wreath
3) Origami Giftbox
4) Tiny Hinges


Copyright 2004-2013 Colleen D. Bergeron.
Last revised: February 20 2013